This post comes from our keynote speaker of the upcoming Renewing Worship EXPO, to be held in Apex on Saturday, September 30.

By David Manner

We seem to have forgotten or maybe ignored that being part of the body of Christ often requires sacrifice. So, instead of considering the cost, we’ve demanded comfort. Instead of being selfless, we’ve been selfish. Instead of focusing on our mission, we’ve demanded our preferences, preconditions, and politics.

Cheap Church Attendees ask,

  • “What if I don’t know or even like the songs?”
  • “What if the pastor doesn’t preach my politics?”
  • “What if I’m expected to do something, give something, or lead something?”
  • “What if I’m not recognized or acknowledged?”
  • “What if I am recognized or acknowledged?”
  • “What if the music is too loud, lights too low, or temperature too high?”
  • “What’s in it for me?”

Costly Church Attendees ask,

  • “What’s in it of me?”

When church attendees ask, “What’s in it for me?” it shifts the object and topic of why we gather (God and God’s story) to an object and topic of our own choosing (me and my story).

Paul wrote in the twelfth chapter of the book of Romans, “Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship” (Rom 12:1).

Sacrifice is that willingness to surrender for the sake of something or someone that is not me. It is the act of giving up, offering up, or letting go. A baseball bunt is a sacrifice for the sole purpose of advancing another runner. Executing this sacrifice is called laying down a bunt. Our rhetoric and responses, especially over the last few years in church life and on social media, have given evidence that we’ve forgotten how important it is to lay down our selfishness for the good of the team.

Maybe asking some of the following questions will help us remember again.

  • Am I looking not only to my own interests but also to the interests of others (Phil. 2:4)?
  • Am I seeking my own good or the good of my neighbor (1 Cor. 10:24)?
  • Am I responding from rivalry or conceit, or in humility, am I counting others more significant than myself (Phil 2:3)?
  • Am I bearing the burdens of others and so fulfilling the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2)?
  • Am I causing quarrels and fights among us? Are my passions at war within me (James 4:1)?
  • Am I loving the Lord my God with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my mind and with all my strength and also loving my neighbor as I love myself (Mark 12:30-31)?
  • Am I presenting my body as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is my spiritual worship? Am I conforming to this world, or am I being transformed by the renewal of my mind (Rom. 12:1-2)?
  • Am I walking in love, as Christ loved me and gave himself up for me, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Eph. 5:2)?
  • Am I acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with my God (Micah 6:8)?
  • Am I gathering with unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind (1 Pet. 3:8)?

This post comes from Dr. Manner’s blog,